Scandal of the Cornish homes for Londoners
LONDONERS are being rehoused in bungalows in Cornwall that locals are barred from occupying in a scheme branded a "scandal".
Critics said the restrictions should not exist at a time when there are so many people in need of social housing in Cornwall.
The properties in Illogan, mostly semi-detached bungalows, were originally built by the former Greater London Council in the Sixties.
They were transferred to housing association DCH – formerly Devon and Cornwall Housing – in the Eighties under the Seaside & Country Homes scheme to provide elderly Londoners with retirement homes in Cornwall by releasing family-sized properties for affordable rent.
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The leasing conditions mean only London residents are allowed to live in them.
Stephen Richardson, an Illogan Parish Council member and spokesman for Mebyon Kernow, said: "It is a scandal, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.
"The real issue is that successive Westminster governments, aided and abetted by local governments, have encouraged this sort of thing to go on.
"It is time that this sort of scheme was reviewed and local people were allowed access to social housing in the place they call home."
The issue emerged after two of the 40 properties on Penwartha Road were mistakenly advertised on Cornwall Council's social housing register.
Local resident Kevin Adams, 64, was "absolutely devastated" after he was led to believe he had been offered a bungalow, only to be told it could only be leased to a Londoner.
Mr Adams, who has lived in his 89-year-old mother's front room since last September, told the West Briton: "We were dancing for joy when we heard we had been nominated for a bungalow. How my hopes were dashed when I heard that there had been a mistake.
"I was absolutely devastated, as was my mother."
Councillor Mark Kaczmarek, former housing and planning Cabinet member for Cornwall Council, said: "It does hit a raw nerve.
"It hit a raw nerve 40 years ago but now, when there are so many people on the housing register in need, it is just not right that these houses are being advertised for London people only.
"It is sad that these conditions can't be changed."
DCH apologised for the error, saying it withdrew the properties "as soon as it realised" and before they had been formally offered.
It said it built more than 100 affordable homes in Cornwall last year, with plans for up to 1,500 over the next five years.
The Illogan bungalows are currently advertised alongside two-bedroom flats in Perranporth on the Housing Moves website, which promotes the Seaside & Country Homes scheme properties to London council and housing association tenants aged over 60.